DICTIONARY

ARENA: MIND CONFLICT
Kartsen MEYHOFF
Denmark

BLITZKRIEG
Friedrich KITTLER
Germany

PAINE. MEMORY. A MEMORY-BOOK
Zoya YEROSHOK
Russia

WAR AND PEACE IN TERMS AND DEFINTIONS
Dmitry LOSKUTOV
Russia/Brussels

IMAGE WAR
Sotirios BAHTSETZIS
Greece

REDEMPTION OF THE HOSTAGES
Viacheslav IZMAILOV
Russia

WARS, WAVES, RULERS
Wladimir VELMINSKY
Russia/Germany

HARMONY (WAR SONG)
Yuki HIGASHINO
Japan/Frankfurt

CIVIL WAR
Valery PODOROGA
Russia

INTERPRETATIONS
Oleg NIKISHIN
Russia

INFORMATION
Dmitry ROGOZIN
Russia

ZONE INERDITE
Christoph WACHTER
Germany
Mathias JUD
Switzerland/Berlin

CLOWN (AT WAR)
Leo BASSI
Italy/Spain

CIRCLE OF WAR
Arkady BABCHENKO
Russia

CONCEPT - UNKNOWN SOLDIER
Oleg ARONSON
Russia

CORPORATION
Uzochukwu NDUKA
Nigeria

CAT-NOTATION
Joulia STRAUSS
Russia /Berlin

FACES OF TERROR
Anthony BEEVOR
UK

IMAGE OF AN ENEMY
Ljubov VINOGRADOVA
Russia

UN: CONDITIONS FOR PEACE
Vladimir PETROVSKY
Russia

REFUSAL
Roman SCHMIDT
Germany

HEROISM
Boris LEONOV
Russia

ANCESTORS
Nikolay PLUZHNIKOV
Russia

SERGEANT KOSOV: PEACEMAKER
German VINOGRADOV
Russia

RADICAL SIMPLIFICATION
Andrey TKACHENKO
Russia

SNIPER
Jakob BOESKOV
Denmark/NY

STRATEGIC CONFLICT PREVENTION
Anton IVANOV
Russia

LEVEL OF DISPERSION. ASHES
Ilya PLEKHANOV
Russia

FINANCIAL WAR (EX-VASION)
Sigudrur INGOLFSSON
Iceland

PRIVATE WAR
Obrad SAVIC
Serbia/UK

SHALAMOV:WAR/CAMP
Mikhail RYKLIN
Russia

Flag ES

CONCEPTION: UNKNOWN SOLDIER

Oleg Aronson

Concept: Unknown Soldier as an anonymous victim of war unable to be truly expressed by any political rhetoric

 

Unknown Soldier – those words began to appear on all sorts of European monuments from the early XIX-th century onwards. They mark something new in the nature and the very understanding of war. After the 1st World War this image becomes emblematic. It becomes a manifestation of the enumerable multitude of victims which is unified into some improbable Oneness. The paradox of the word-combination  “Unknown Soldier”  lies in the fact that soldier is a part of economy of war and thus is always “accountable for”. He is a unite, he is drawn into the system of rationality, and yet he is anonymous  and unknown. In such a situation it is not politics which always sees War as “the art of sovereignty” (Nancy) that is able to speak of that which remains unspeakable, unutterable, unknown within War. Rather it is poetry that is able to touch upon something that eludes any political and economic dimension. Two works of art – the cycle of Osip Mandelstam “Unknown Soldier” and a poem with the same title dictated by Varlam Shalamov dying in his retirement home (1980) – seem to pinpoint the place where poetry and war can meet.

For Mandelstam the Unknown Soldier is an absolute victim, an infantryman, whose body combines different elements, becoming their part. His war is without borders, and it is not fought by countries and peoples, but by all planet, by the very forces of air and soil. Within the mill-grinds of this war dies a whole generation (the aortas are filling with blood, and a small whisper runs through the line, “I was born in 1894”, “I was born in 1892”). What we witness is the war that passes through the borders of the XIX and the XX centuries. The 1st World War. Everyone there becomes an anonymous victim. But it is within this war that each and everyone experiences communion with life and with the others, with his “nameless comrades”. Shalamov’s victim is different. “I would have been an army’s man// in any other epoch// But I lost my “unchangeable ruble”// Amid the pack ice”. This victim seems to envy that nameless comradeship, that community – related to life – the war creates.

Shalamov’s victim is a sick, aching “I”, deprived of any subjectivity, that manifests that “minimum of life” and  is incapable of any brotherhood. This “minimum of life” does not die during the war, it survives it in Stalin’s concentration camp, it remains alive and whispers an impossible pray for its own death: “I am dead”. And if in the formula “War is the art of sovereignty” Mandelstam refutes any kind of sovereignty, Shalamov’s thought on war refutes all notion of “art”. Only pain remains. But both authors through this figure of the Unknown Soldier utter the a-political aspect in War, uncovering Pain.